Graduate Students | PhD Program Requirements

PhD Requirements

Graduate College (GC) forms will be routed through GradPath in UAccess. Geoscience (GEO) forms wil be submitted to the Geosciences Graduate Office (Gould-Simpson room 210.) PhD degrees are expected to take four years to complete. Students not following this schedule are at risk of making unsatisfactory academic progress.

Please refer to the Graduate College's Degree Requirements page for information about Graduate College forms.

Geosciences PhD Handbook - link to PDF

REQUIRED Annual Committee Meeting Scheduling

It is your responsibility to arrange and hold your required yearly committee meeting with all four of your committee members. This meeting is not supposed to be a mini-oral exam; your advisory committee should benefit you by providing advice and support. The meeting (30-60 minimum) is an opportunity to discuss progress and goals as a group, identify relevant courses, provide advice, and consider funding opportunities.

Prepare a brief (no more than one page) written report that summarizes your progress during the past year and outlines your goals for the coming year. Your prepared progress report should be signed by each member of the committee and a copy is due in the Geosciences Academic Affairs office (GLD-S 210).

Below is the recommended schedule for PhD students.

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
YEAR ONE Diagnostic exam  
YEAR TWO Committee Meeting (in prep for comps) Comp Exams
YEAR THREE   Committee meeting
YEAR FOUR Committee Meeting (if graduating in May) or Committee Meeting (if not graduating)
YEAR FIVE Committee Meeting (if graduating in May)  


First Semester Responsible Conduct of Research (GC) Submit this form through GradPath. Required before any other forms can be filed.
First Semester PhD Diagnostic Exam (GEO) Submit Diagnostic Exam form (GEO PDF file) to Geosciences Grad Office. Meet with Temporary Advisor and two committee members; plan program of study.
Second Semester Evaluation of Transfer Credit (GC) If applicable. Student may use 15 units of transfer from an MS degree.
Third Semester PhD Plan of Study (GC) Submit this form through GradPathList (minimum) 45 units of course work as well as 18 units of GEOS 920, dissertation.
Third Semester Comp Exam Committee Appointment (GC) Submit this form through GradPath. Your committee must have four members; three members must be tenure-track in Geosciences
Fourth Semester Comprehensive Exam Work with advisor to determine format of written exam. Complete written exam. Submit Announcement of Doctoral Comprehensive Exam (GC) through GradPath to schedule oral exam.
Semester after Oral Comprehensive Exam Formulate dissertation research proposal. Submit Proposed Dissertation Research form (GEO PDF file)  to Geosciences Grad Office.
Six months before defense Doctoral Dissertation Committee Appointment (GC). Submit this form through GradPath.
By Posted Deadline Submit Announcement of Final Oral Defense through GradPath to schedule defense.
By Posted Deadline Submit an electronic copy of the dissertation to the Graduate College.